In the matter of the Ontario Heritage Act
R.S.O. 1990 Chapter 0.18
City of Toronto, Province of Ontario
Notice of intention to designate
315 Bloor Street West
Take notice that Toronto City Council intends to designate the lands and buildings known municipally as 315 Bloor Street West under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act.
Reasons for Designation
The property at 315 Bloor Street West is worthy of designation under Part IV, Section 29 of the Ontario Heritage Act for its cultural heritage value, and meets the criteria for municipal designation prescribed by the Province of Ontario under the three categories of design, associative and contextual value. Located on the southwest corner of Bloor Street West and Devonshire Place, the Dominion Meteorological Building (1909) is a 2½-storey administration building with a tower. The site includes the Transit House, a single-storey outbuilding that originally contained meteorological instruments. The property was listed on the inaugural City of Toronto Inventory of Heritage Properties in June 1973.
Statement of Cultural Heritage Value
The Dominion Meteorological Building has associative value for its direct links to significant institutions. From 1909 to 1971, it housed the Meteorological Service Canada, the federal government agency responsible for meteorological observations and weather forecasting. The University of Toronto's Admissions and Awards Office occupied the premises for nearly 40 years.
Historically, the Dominion Meteorological Building is also associated with the notable Toronto architectural firm of Burke, Horwood and White, which executed the plans prepared by its predecessor, Burke and Horwood. The partnership was headed by Edmund Burke, who had worked with his uncle, architect Henry Langley, before assuming the practice of another distinguished architect, William Storm. Teaming with J.C.B. Horwood in 1895, the pair designed such iconic Toronto buildings as Castle Memorial Hall (part of McMaster Hall and later the Royal Conservancy of Music). Murray White joined the practice in 1908, and the firm continued to receive commissions for a variety of residential, commercial, institutional and public buildings and structures, including the Prince Edward (Bloor Street) Viaduct.
From a design perspective, the Dominion Meteorological Building is a rare and unique example of a building type in Toronto, which was originally designed to house the observatory, meteorological equipment and administrative functions of the Meteorological Service of Canada. Its well-crafted design employed the popular Romanesque Revival style, identified by the rugged stone masonry, castle-like appearance and application of the round arch for the principal (south) entrance. The building displays a high degree of craftsmanship, including the treatment of the main entry with its decorative stone carvings, and the iconic tower, which was specifically designed to house the observatory's telescope.
Contextually, with its distinctive tower and location on the south side of Bloor Street West, the Dominion Meteorological Building is a local landmark at the north end of the University of Toronto campus. The building anchors the southwest corner of Devonshire Place, where it is setback from the intersection and adjoins the diminutive Transit House.
The heritage attributes of the property at 315 Bloor Street West are:
Dominion Meteorological Building:
- The scale, form and massing of the rectangular-shaped plan, which rises 2½-stories above a raised base with window openings
- The roughly-textured sandstone cladding with smooth dressed stone trim on the window openings and cornice
- The truncated hipped roof with clay tile cladding, stone chimneys and stone-clad dormers
- On the principal (north) façade, the centrally-placed frontispiece with a stepped parapet and round-arched openings in the second storey and attic half-storey
- The main (north) entrance, which is elevated at the base of the frontispiece and accessed via stone steps
- The detailing of the north entrance, where the round-arched surround incorporates sandstone columns, brackets, carved mouldings with gargoyles, and a sculpted tympanum with the Royal coat-of-arms
- Flanking the north entry, the fenestration where flat-headed window openings are grouped in stone surrounds, contain wood sash windows, and have transoms in the first-floor openings and decorative upper light divided sashes in the second-storey openings
- At the north end, the round tower, which rises above the ridge of the adjoining roof and features narrow lancet window openings
- On the side elevations (east and west) that are viewed from Devonshire Place and Bloor Street West, respectively, the pattern and placement of the window openings
- The interior, with the cross corridors with arch detailing, the grand south staircase, the pressed brick cladding on the walls, and the original geometric tile flooring
- The setback of the building from Bloor Street West and Devonshire Place where a stone and ironwork fence outlines the perimeter of the property
- The scale, form and massing of the single-storey structure
- The clinker brick cladding with the smooth grey brick trim
- The gable roof that is covered with clay tile and incorporates a skylight
- The round-arched window openings
- The placement of the building to the northwest of the Dominion Meteorological Building, where it is angled according to the exact astronomical north-south orientation
Notice of an objection to the proposed designation may be served on the City Clerk, Attention: Rosalind Dyers, Administrator, Toronto and East York Community Council, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street West, 2nd floor, Toronto, ON M5H 2N2, within thirty days of July 27, 2010, which is August 26, 2010. The notice must set out the reason(s) for the objection, and all relevant facts.
Dated at Toronto this 27th day of July, 2010.
Ulli S. Watkiss